everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Two anniversaries today

Today is a special day for two reasons – it is our lovely Dad’s birthday (77! Imagine!) and it marks two years since my friend Steph and I took our first steps on the Camino de Santiago. Both anniversaries include wonderful people, and bring back many fantastic memories of fun times and lots of laughter. With a few challenges along the way (if you were a blog reader two years ago, I am recovering well from The Insect Attack of 2013, thank you).

I reckon it’s always important to celebrate and remember on a day like today, so here are some snaps for today that make me smile.

All dressed up - LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That's my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess.)

All dressed up – LIttle Jim and Little Pat. (That’s my Dad on the right, circa early 1940s, I guess. He still has good hair.)

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren's portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat. Our lovely Lauren’s portrait (on an etch-a-sketch) from a few years ago.

Steph on the Camino. I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.

August 2013. Steph on the Camino. And yes, I am available to photograph weddings, parties, etc on my iPhone.

Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.

Fields of smiling sunflowers along The Way. Sometimes cute, sometimes very creepy.

Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.

Cruz de Ferro on the Camino, at sunrise. This should be on more bucket lists, I reckon.

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And we made it! After 800km, our arrival in Santiago de Compostela, September 2013. [Unfortunately, this pic is missing Shane and some of our other Camino family.]

So many good times. So many good people. Happy Birthday, Pat, and Buen Camino, Steph and our Camino family!

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Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my lovely Dad’s birthday. Here is a picture of him, drawn on one of those etch-a-sketch things by my fabulous niece Lauren (I think she was five at the time).

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat.

Dad / Dadoo / Dooey. Or you can call him Pat.

There’s a quote from the book that I wrote about yesterday that has stuck with me since I read it and it reminds me very much of my Dad and my Mom. And so, for the day that’s in it, I’ve included it here. Because they really do know that this stuff matters. What’s even better, they really do live like this stuff matters. And to me, that’s pretty amazing.

[from We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride]

[from We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride]

And here’s a photo of little Pat, with his brother Jim. Pat is the curly haired larrikin on the right. And although he hasn’t worn a tie much since this picture was taken, he still has a unique sense of style. Happy happy birthday to my amazing Dad!

All dressed up - LIttle Jim and Little Pat.

All dressed up – LIttle Jim and Little Pat.

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This Owl Party Was A Hoot.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. It really was a hoot, though. My fabulous niece Lauren (one of Pirate James’ lovely sisters) turned 5 and chose an owl themed party to celebrate with her family and friends on Saturday. And my clever sister-in-law Jo, fresh from the Pirate Party Extravaganza only two weeks ago, created another incredible party, with beautiful props and delicious food. Oh, and 1000 screaming little people. Ok, maybe not exactly 1000, but there were a LOT of excited girls and boys enjoying the party. Well, except for that little girl who started crying hysterically when her water balloon popped before the old school water balloon egg & spoon race even started. (Don’t worry, she recovered in time for the Musical Statues game.) Here are some pics from the festivities…

Balloons and flowers - the cornerstone of a great party...

Balloons and flowers – the cornerstone of a great party…

Stylin' it up with owl party props.

Stylin’ it up with owl party props.

Fairy Bread - one of my contributions to the festivities. Not to brag, but it is one of my culinary specialties.

Fairy Bread – one of my contributions to the festivities. Just call me Nigella…

The canvas (hand-painted by Jo!) for Pin The Owl On The Nest.

The canvas (hand-painted by Jo) for Pin The Owl On The Nest. X marks the spot.

After the owls were all pinned. Methinks some of the kids could see through the eye mask...

After the owls were all pinned. Methinks some of the kids could see through that eye mask…

Some of our cupcakes with handmade fondant owls and flowers.

Some of our cupcakes with handmade fondant owls and flowers.

The fruit cups looked great, but weren't a big hit with the kids. The scary dragon guard might have had something to do with it, though.

The fruit cups looked great, but weren’t really a big hit with the kids. This scary dragon guard might have had something to do with that though.

A table of treats. Hoot hoot.

A table of treats. Hoot hoot.

Oh yes, did I mention THE CAKE?

Oh yes, did I mention THE CAKE?

So there you have it – an owl party fit for one of my favourite people on the planet. The best storyteller I know, an incredible little lady with crazy curly hair, a brilliant sense of humour and fun, an amazing imagination, incredible energy and such a social butterfly.

Happy birthday, lovely Lauren. And well done to your amazingly clever Mum!

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A Pirate Party

And so my lovely nephew James turned 3 last week. Yesterday was his much anticipated Pirate Party – the invitation won me when the RSVP section asked Arrr you coming to my party? It was another extravaganza from the party mastermind, my amazing sister-in-law Jo. Countless hours were spent getting everything ready, with almost everything made by hand and with a whole lotta love. On a perfectly sunny Sydney day, there were plenty of cool pirate outfits, crazy pirate shenanigans and some delicious pirate food. A fitting way to celebrate the best little pirate I know – when they sang, “you are my sunshine”, I’m pretty sure they were talking about this guy. Anyways, here are some of the party pics, me hearties.

Strict entry criteria.

Strict entry criteria.

The treasure map for 'Pin the Flag on the Treasure'. Yep, painted by Jo.

The treasure map for ‘Pin the Flag on the Treasure’. Yep, painted by Jo.

Hats and eye patches for the pirate guests.

Hats and eye patches for the pirate guests.

Cupcakes from the high seas.

Cupcakes from the high seas.

Awesome.

The awesome cake.

Arrr, there be the cupcakes, jellies (in a pirate ship), chocolates and cake.

Arrr, there be the cupcakes, jellies (in a pirate ship), chocolates and cake.

Amazing, huh? Yes, ok, I made these chocolate guys - under direction from The Boss!

Amazing, huh? Yes, ok, I made these chocolate guys – under direction from The Boss!

Bags of loot for all of the little pirate guests.

Bags of loot for all of the little pirate guests.

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Beware of the Dragon

It’s my birthday next month and according to traditional Chinese astrology, I am a Dragon. And a Fire Dragon, at that. Many people who have known me over the years will nod and agree that I can indeed be a bit of a dragon, so that seems to fit. I used to work with a Chinese guy who worked out my zodiac sign and said that a Fire Dragon is the sign that many Chinese parents would wish for in their child. I smiled proudly until he added, “if their child was a boy – it is not good luck at all for a girl”. Not much can be done about it now, I guess. Anyways, as 2012 is the Year of the Dragon in the traditional Chinese zodiac, I thought that would probably mean a cracker of a year for me. I should have just stuck with that instinct and not looked any further through the world of Google astrology…

According to the scary tips and observations on the Chinese Fortune Calendar site, I should probably just stay in bed ’til next year. (Although the website looks pretty dodgy, it appeared first, so I had a look.) It seems that the Year of the Dragon is not automatically a great year for Dragons. And since this year is the year of the Water Dragon, it’s even worse for Fire Dragons as water douses fire. Eeeek.

Apparently, the social relationship of Dragon people is poor in 2012. Oh dear. But if I am looking for new relationships: usually, Dragon people have a better chance to get along well with other people born in the year of Chicken. Ah yes, Chickens. Another site I discovered suggested that Dragons actually get along best with Monkeys and Rats. Either way, I don’t appear to be destined to mix it up with the fancier animals of the Chinese zodiac.

When it comes to my career, this site urged caution: In short, you need to be patient and not have any conflicts with people. Otherwise, it will become an obstacle in your career development, and may even bring you lawsuit. Keeping a low profile is the key to preventing humiliation. A lawsuit? Crikey. This Dragon currently works in HR (traditional home of many dragons, I’m sure), so being patient and avoiding conflict at work is not going to be easy. Nor is keeping a low profile. Hopefully there’s not an EverydaySparks post about any humiliating lawsuit ahead in 2012.

There were also some general financial tips, which I presume could just apply to anyone: If they want to save more money to increase their wealth, Dragon people need a good financial management plan for budget. Oh, and my health? There is a minor injury sign this year, so they should drive very carefully on the road and try to avoid dangerous sports. Uh huh.

So, keep an eye out for this ol’ Dragon – on the road, I’ll be driving very slowly; in the ice hockey team, I’ll be cheering from the bench; at work, I’ll be the quiet one in the corner (playing with chickens and rats and monkeys). I will also be checking out other astrology websites until I find some info that makes me feel better!

This information and images (except for the nice green dragon, which came from Vectorya.com) came from the Chinese Fortune Calendar website – you can check it out here, if you dare.

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